Nature Journaling Tip #1: Getting Started
Real objects and happenings in the schoolyard can make learning come alive. Here is an approach to learning that takes advantage of accessible objects and places through nature journals. A nature journal begins as a blank book, preferably without lines because it allows you to mix sketches with writing and record with the book held sideways. In addition to journals you and your students will need pencils, colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, and erasers. These make up the basic toolkit needed for developing observation skills.
The basic idea of nature journaling is to record your personal observations as accurately as possible with notes and sketches. Each time you make an entry in your journal get into the habit of recording the date and time of day, the place where you are, and a note about the weather.
At the conclusion of each time spent observing and recording in your journal take a few moments to record both your questions and your discoveries. Have your students complete both of these sentences: "I would like to know..." and "I found out..."
Next week's tip: Pure Contour Sketching
Mark Baldwin is the Director of Education at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI), a proud partner in National Environmental Education Week. Each year RTPI offers online workshops for educators interested in bringing nature journaling into the classroom. For more information visit www.rtpi.org.